So, you’ve started to like coffee – like really, really like coffee. But not just any old cup of Joe.
You like the specialty drinks, and now you find yourself making a Starbucks run two, maybe three, times a day.
It’s expensive, so you start looking into espresso makers. They’re expensive too! And so confusing… What’s the solution?
That’s where the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine comes in – designed and made by the iconic Gaggia brand.
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The Brera offers one of the best values on the market for the Italian-made super automatic bean-to-cup experience.
For this reason, it’s one of the most popular options for first-time espresso machine owners.
There’s a bit of a learning curve for newcomers in the espresso machine world when they start the hunt for their first machine. So, let us break down what the Gaggia Brera has to offer and see what all the hype is about.
What we love about the Gaggia Brera:
- Superb Value for Money.
- Authentically Italian Made with Brand Recognition.
- Built-in Ceramic Burr Grinder with an 8.8-ounce Capacity.
- Removable Brew Unit for Easy Cleaning.
- Bypass Doser for Ground Specialty or Decaf Coffee.
- Fast Heat up (10-seconds or less).
- One-Touch Espresso and Coffee Buttons.
- Adjustable Coffee Length, Pre-Brewing Options, and Aroma Settings.
- Create Café-Quality Espresso, Ristretto, Lungo, Americano, Long Black, Latte, Cappuccino and More!
Design of the Gaggia Brera super automatic espresso machine
The Gaggia Brera is one of the sleekest looking machines Gaggia offers even considering it being their entry level super automatic
This beautiful model is our personal favorite design in their lineup.
The machine comes in an all-over stainless-steel casing or front stainless-steel with a black plastic body. Some of our favorite points of the design include:
- Its front access water tank for easy refill.
- Its removable brew group for ultra-easy maintenance, and
- The simple control center – with a respectable number of programmable features including intensity, coffee length, and a clock and timer.
Below the main control center there’s the steam wand or hot waterspout knob.
You can use the elegant looking Pannarello wand for either.
This unit is cleverly designed to accommodate cup heights from 3.1 to 4.5 inches tall.
How? Because the extraction spout is moveable to fit in with the various heights.
At the top of the machine, there’s an area for cups just in front of the air-tight ceramic grinder with 5 grind settings.
This is a good choice for beginners who don’t want to fuss too much with dialing in their shots, but still want to have some grind-sizes to try out.
Features & Performance of Gaggia Brera:
Optiaroma with Pre-infusion for a Flavorful Cup
The Brera starts by grinding your fresh coffee beans. Then it utilizes pre-infusion and a couple second wait time before its pressurized extraction to create a wonderfully rich and nuanced beverage.
Up the intensity with the Gaggia line’s unique “optiaroma” function with three aroma settings that brew stronger to enhance the flavor of your cup.
Get tailor-made results by selecting the volume of coffee you want among three variants.
100% Ceramic Adjustable Grinder
One of the most remarkable features of the machine is the sturdy and reliable 100% ceramic adjustable grinder. Grinders made entirely of ceramic extract the purest essence from your beans and guard against overheating or burning.
Ceramic grinders are also quiet compared to steel grinders, making for the best overall performance. The grinder has a respectable 5 grind options to take you to either a fine grind for robust flavor, a coarse grind for tea-like coffees, or something in between.
What’s more, the grinder integrates a “smart system” which will automatically adjust the speed and timing of the grind to best suit the roast of your beans.
While you can’t beat whole bean, the machine also offers bypass dosing feature.
If you have a specialty ground coffee you’d like to try out with this machine, you have the option to do so.
This machine really does it all!
Double Grind for a Double Shot
Another special feature that we didn’t know we needed is the way it handles double shots.
The unit grinds twice for two full shots rather than simply pushing more water through a higher dose.
This way you can put two shot glasses side by side and make two even, better tasting beverages for you and a friend.
Smart Memo Function
With the Gaggia Brera’s “Smart Memo” function, it can memorize your customizations such as coffee length and strength.
Just press the smart memo button for a few seconds with your favorites selected, and voilà, it’s memorized!
Front Loading Water Reservoir and Dreg Box
We love the front-loading water reservoir and dreg box on this machine.
It’s always such a hassle to refill back loaded water reservoirs. It can be awkward to reach over the machine without bumping into the cabinets. And, similarly the dreg box being placed on the side or back would make it difficult to reach and potentially cause a mess of grinds as you try to get it out.
We applaud the Gaggia designers for this convenient choice!
Pannarello Wand with Rapid Steam
With the Brera’s rapid steam feature, it’s ready to start steaming in just 9 short seconds.
The Pannarello wand makes delicious quality micro-foam for lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, or even some hot cocoa! The addition of a milk solution is what makes any super automatic great for lovers of specialty beverages.
Maintaining the Gaggia Brera is easy as pie with its removable brew unit, drip tray, and dreg box that can be rinsed off with warm water weekly.
Because you’re able to access the machine’s brew group, you can keep it clean and working efficiently for the best in-cup results every time.
The machine will need to be manually descaled every two to three months.
Depending on how much you use it, and that will be indicated by a descale light on the front of the machine. You’ll need to make sure you use Gaggia’s own descaling solution and follow the machine’s specific instructions.
Things to Think About
The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Machine is seriously a standout for the price, but we think you’ll want to consider its best use. The dreg box holds just 8 servings, while the water tank holds only 40 oz which lasts 4-6 shots of espresso. In addition, the decaling process is manual, so you don’t want it to be working overtime, since it means you’ll have to spend more of your own precious time descaling it.
Bearing that in mind, this machine isn’t great for a busy office setting or college dorm. It would need to be refilled and emptied over and over, and the machine’s interior would more quickly deteriorate since it has a plastic brew unit.
The Gaggia Brera is highly recommended for, and best suited for, the home setting. A 2–3-person office would be fine as well.
The setup process for the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine is simple:
- Step 0: Remove all the packaging and place it in a cool safe environment to insert the drip tray with grill and the bean hop cover. Plug in machine.
- Step 1: Rinse lightly and then fill the water reservoir located at the front of the machine with room temperature or cold fresh, non-sparkling water.
- Step 2: Add your favorite coffee beans to the bean hopper and turn the machine on by pressing the “I” button. The stand-by button will begin blinking.
- Step 3: Prime the water circuit by turning the steam wand selector to the tea-cup button and the machine will automatically let out a preset amount of water through the Pannarello.
- Step 4: Turn the selection knob back to its central position and wait for the one and two cup icons to stop blinking and come in solid.
- Step 5: You’re ready to brew delicious beverages, dispense hot water, or froth some micro-foam textured milk!
Comparable: Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine vs. Gaggia Cadorna Milk Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
For this review, we thought it’d be helpful to compare two Gaggia machines. Considering you’re in the market for a super automatic machine, let’s take a look at the tried-and-true Brera vs. the newly release Cadorna.
In the matter of aesthetics, we personally prefer the look of the Gaggia Brera.
It’s shorter and takes up less width than the Cadorna Milk, yet it’s only about 1 pound lighter. That speaks to the higher quantity of plastic materials used in the Cadorna Milk as compared to the Brera.
Despite its appearance being generally less pleasing to the eye, the Gaggia Cadorna Milk handles the interface with equal simplicity.
There are two design elements we prefer on the Cadorna Milk:
- The espresso dispenser can accommodate taller mugs than the Brera, and
- The Cadorna’s 50-ounce-capacity water tank allows for less frequent refills.
The two main differences as far as features go are that with the Cadorna – you get double the grind settings and an automatic milk solution.
Both the Cadorna and the Brera can make the exact same lineup of drinks.
However, with the Gaggia Brera it’s up to you to know the general recipe of these drinks – how thick the foam should be, what ratio of espresso to milk, etc.
With the Gaggia Cadorna you have all your café favorites programmed in the machine.
Thanks to its completely automatic, hands-free milk solution:
- You simply select your drink, make any adjustments you want like light milk or a double shot,
- and the machine takes care of the rest.
Plus, rather than just one smart memo function, the Cadorna Milk allows you to save four individual profiles that can easily save up to four members in your household’s preferences for each of its vast range of automatic drink recipes.
Which model should you get?
In the end, you can get the same quality and results from the Gaggia Brera and the Gaggia Cadorna Milk. With the Brera there – there will be a bit more reliance on your own trial and error.
Also consider which unit looks best in your space. Form and function are equally important when you have to look at it every day.
If you prefer automation and want to skip ahead of the learning curve, the Gaggia Cadorna Milk is for you. If you prefer stainless-steel and a more compact profile, and you want to be more involved in the process, then go with the Brera.
The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine (view on Amazon) is Gaggia’s entry level all-in-one that handles all your café-style beverage favorites.
It’s perfect for inexperienced coffee makers who want to enjoy high quality, café-quality drinks throughout the day without the expense or hassle of going to a shop or making it manually.
Start saving money and enjoying more delicious beverages with this fully automatic machine.
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